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Crime Classics - Single Episodes

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Crime Classics - Single Episodes


Crime Classics came to CBS September 30, 1953 and was a neat little series of "true crime stories". This show introduces itself succinctly: "A series of true crime stories from the records and newspapers of every land, from every time. Your host each week, is Mr. Thomas Hyland -- connoisseur of crime, student of violence, and teller of murders. " Thomas Hyland is played by Lou Merrill, although you'd never know it was an "actor" doing the part. The great Elliott Lewis, actor, producer and director of Suspense, Broadway is my Beat and On Stage is in charge of this very intelligent and enjoyable show. Composer Bernard Herrmann duplicated authentic music of the era being dramatized, and Morton Fine and David Friedkin were the writers. Lewis and his writers collected and developed true crime stories expressly for Crime Classics.

Thomas Hyland's delivery is measured and mild-mannered, as if giving a college lecture. Would that all professors were this interesting! The actors in the stories themselves are uniformly. Sensitive orchestral scores by the great Bernard Hermann, who did Orson Welles' Mercury Theater radio show and then Alfred Hitchcock's films, give the stories sophistication and mood. So do the tasteful sound effects. There is a wry, cool-blooded tone to the proceedings.

Cases ranged from seventeenth-century murder to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Each and every story, however bizarre, is actually based on fact. For example, the show on the Younger Brothers of the American West has some very interesting background details concerning Quantrell's Raiders and the Kansas Jayhawks. In the story of "John Hayes, his Head, and How They Were Parted," we hear the tale of a glassblower who blows glass perfectly and completely surrounding the severed head of a unknown deadman. Then it is placed in a museum where it remained pending identification. Thus his killers were found out by the dead man, using his head.

This show is a good companion to other old time radio shows that are historically-oriented, such as Cavalcade of America, You Are There, and American Trail. For science and research, the shows Science Magazine of the Air and Adventures in Research are very good.

Information for this description came from John Dunning's "Tune In Yesterday The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio".

NOTE: Updated Release! Corrected episode titles and MP3 tags, and removed Windows sounds from "53-07-20 (06) The Death Of A Picture Hanger" (04-Oct-2011).

From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.



This is a production of the Old Time Radio Researchers Group located at Old Time Radio Researchers Website ( and the Yahoo! Group Old Time Radio Researchers.

It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.

This is the Single Episodes Page. The Certified Set includes extras not found here. It is located at OTRR Certified Set. This Single Episodes page is provided in case you want to sample the shows. Note that in many cases, file names have been modified from the original OTRR names to conform to naming requirements.

If you are interested in preserving Old Time Radio (OTR), you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Yahoo.

Relax, listen, and enjoy!

OTRR Definitions:

OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that is Certified Accurate indicates that all the episodes are properly identified and labeled but that the series does not contain all known extant episodes.

OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that is Certified Complete is the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implies that all the files in the series are Certified Accurate but also indicates that the series is as complete as possible – it includes all extant episodes.

OTRR Non-Certified -- A collection of shows that has not gone through the OTRR Certification process.


Reviewer: Ken17402 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 18, 2016
Subject: Try it youll like it
very interesting to listen to while driving I enjoy every minute
Reviewer: ddsimpkins - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 9, 2014
Subject: One of THE Best
Love everything about this series. The narrator is wonderful. Sorry when I hit play on #51.
Reviewer: japanharold - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 9, 2014
Subject: Refreshing, entertaining, riveting
I agree with just about everyone else who has commented on this show that it is one of the better OTR crime series. The only thing I can add is my opinion of the fact brought up by others that there are many women criminals in these shows. I find this to be quite refreshing as most shows feature men as criminals. Since about half the population is women, I don't see any sexist bias here at all.
Reviewer: fashawks8 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 19, 2013
Subject: Terrific
These shows are great! The funny thing is the two things that make this show unique seem to be contradictory. The first is the ironic tone of the narrator, and the second are the gorgeous, brooding scores of Bernard Herrmann. It all works though.
Reviewer: LuckyPug - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 16, 2013
Subject: I love this!!
This is the most entertaining radio show I've ever heard. I absolutely loved each episode. Thank you for your hard work and devotion to preserving history in all forms.
Reviewer: ChargerJoe - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 19, 2010
Subject: Entertaining
I love the narration, the stories are engaging (albeit some more than others).
Reviewer: old-time-radio - - July 14, 2010
Subject: Text is from (Old Time Radio Catalog)
Text is copied and pasted from the website:

Crime Classics Old Time Radio Show.
Reviewer: bugbug - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 6, 2010
Subject: Excellent show!
One of the best, if not the best of OTR! Fairly long essay discussing CC and episode 16 may be of interest to fans and new listeners:
Reviewer: mandymarie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 19, 2010
Subject: True Crime Gem
I adore this radio show. It is pure historical true crime told in a sort of jovial way. Too bad there aren't that many episodes, but every one is worth it's weight in gold. Every time I listen to an episode, I find myself researching the actual true crime!
Reviewer: gravytop - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 12, 2009
Subject: Great Show
Production values of this show are fantastic -- sound effects, music, everything is top-notch.

Also the writing is very clever.

One interesting thing: a lot of amoral women in these episodes. The stereotype of the conniving, grasping shrew appears often. So, perhaps a bit of a sexist slant, but if that doesn't offend you too much, then these shows are highly recommended.
Reviewer: mcm2500 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 6, 2008
Subject: Very Good Show!
I really enjoyed this show. Previous to finding this site the only otr I listened to was Sherlock Holmes w/Basil Rathbone. Its very exciting finding shows like this.
A few cases I never heard of plus the old favorites like Jack the Ripper. Very well done and interesting. Wish they were still making them.
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